Quite often people will say that a person who is transitioning or transitioned that, “you’re still the same person.” This begs the question: Am I the same person that I was before I began transition?
The answer is both yes and no.
On the one hand, I still have all of my life experiences that lead up to the point of my epiphany and subsequent transition. Many of my interests have not changed. I still like books, follow politics, enjoy singing and many other things. I also still have my sense of humour which many people say is warped, others have called it sardonic. I have the years of experience working in IT and in a lot of ways my personality is the same.
On the other hand I am not the same person, especially in the eyes of society. There is a fundamental shift in how people see one as a person when one transitions. Prior to my transition I was seen as, and presented as a straight male with all of the societal baggage that implies. Now, I am presenting and am seen as a woman – I am a woman – with all the baggage that implies. My mannerisms, voice, choice of vocabulary have all changed through my transition. My reactions to things and how I interact with the world is different.
There is also the experience in how the world treats me as a person. There is a distinct difference in the way that men and women are treated in various circumstances, and that leaves out how one is treated when one is ‘read’ as being a trans person. Society treats men and women differently based on perceived gender. Therefore, according to society I am a different person, in many cases this also means that I am not worthy of the same consideration that men are. These experiences do impact on who I am as a person. One aspect that hasn’t changed is that injustice irks me.
So yes, I am the same person, but at the same time I am not the same person. Much as the person one knows in grade school is a somewhat different person when one meets them at a reunion.